Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

Saturday, July 23, 2005

On Hiatus. No, I'm Not Kidding.

I am so far behind it's not even funny. I leave Monday for an installation/modification job, and I won't be back for eight or nine days, probably. I'll have internet access on the road, probably, but I'll be spending my evenings working, too. On top of that, we're getting started on the work on the house, and that's going to cut into my time seriously when I get back.

I haven't been posting much recently, and certainly no original essays, so I'd like to thank y'all who have been keeping my traffic stats up, but you'll need to bear with me for a while (quite a while) longer. Don't expect to see more than one or two posts a week, if that.

Friday, July 22, 2005

My Condolences.

Xlrq's father-in-law has been killed in an accident. Drop by and leave your sympathies, if you would.

Don't Be Hatin'.

Still, this is pretty damned funny:
Don't retire, Lance; keep aggravating the French until their snails turn sour

John Kelso, The Statesman, 7/22/05

Sure, it's getting a little monotonous hearing about Lance Armstrong day after day, kicking the rest of the world's bicycle tires in the Tour de France.

I mean, how many times do we have to see the man on TV, standing on that podium with those two chicks?

Still, Lance is making a big mistake by retiring.

It's fun to annoy the French by beating them at their own game. Besides, any country that invented the poodle deserves an annual humiliation.

The plan is for Lance to hang it up after he takes his seventh straight Tour on Sunday when he rides into Paris. The only way he can lose is if he runs into a cow. He wins so often in this race that I'll bet you can't even name the top French rider.

Perhaps only Christophe Moreau's closest relatives would know that on Thursday morning, he was the Tour's leading Frenchman, in 10th place, 12 minutes and 7 seconds behind Lance. Twelve minutes behind — a kid on a tricycle could do better than that. Hey, buddy, what's the holdup?

You know those T-shirts that say, "My favorite team is the Red Sox and whoever's beating the Yankees?" The French should wear T-shirts that say, "My favorite rider is Christophe Moreau and whoever's beating Lance Armstrong."

The trouble for the French is that nobody is beating Lance Armstrong. They should hire a hit man to pound tacks in his tires. The Tour de France is their Super Bowl, and their best guy is so far behind that he has to use binoculars to find Lance Armstrong's butt.

The French have just about given up on this bicycle deal. Not that they're new at surrendering.

The reason the leader in the Tour de France gets a yellow jersey? It's the French national color. Throwing your hands in the air is the official French aerobics exercise.

So when Armstrong quits, this will be the best thing to happen to France since the Germans left Paris.

Come to think of it, Lance has ridden into Paris more often than the Germans, though they did more damage to the pavement. So when Lance packs it in, it will be a cause for a French national holiday.

Let's not hand them that luxury quite so soon. Lance should just keep stomping the truffles out of them.

Here they are, getting

whupped regularly like a dumb guy on Jeopardy by a Texan. How annoying must that be for the French to be scalded annually by someone from the Lone Star State?

So stay on the bike, Lance. Anybody who eats snails deserves a breath mint — and all the abuse you can give them.

I envision Lance Armstrong at 84 riding a wheelchair equipped with pedals up the Alps with the French riders in hot pursuit, getting their usual extended look at Lance Armstrong's keister.

I envision the French police busting into 84-year-old Lance Armstrong's nursing home looking for performance-enhancing drugs and finding a six-pack of Ensure.

I just love it that the Tour winner every year is somebody who knows a chicken-fried steak doesn't have any chicken in it. So let's keep it that way.
Amen! Preach it brother!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

An Op-Ed You Will Never See in the New York Times.

I found this via Killrighty, through a Technorati search. Helluva piece from the Dallas Morning News
Call Them What They Are: Those who murder Iraqi civilians are terrorists
09:02 AM CDT on Friday, July 15, 2005

Two words not uncommon to editorial pages are "resolve" and "sacrifice," especially as they relate to war.

Today, this editorial board resolves to sacrifice another word – "insurgent" – on the altar of precise language. No longer will we refer to suicide bombers or anyone else in Iraq who targets and kills children and other innocent civilians as "insurgents."

The notion that these murderers in any way are nobly rising up against a sitting government in a principled fight for freedom has become, on its face, absurd. If they ever held a moral high ground, they sacrificed it weeks ago, when they turned their focus from U.S. troops to Iraqi men, women and now children going about their daily lives.

They drove that point home with chilling clarity Wednesday in a poor Shiite neighborhood. As children crowded around U.S. soldiers handing out candy and toys in a gesture of good will, a bomb-laden SUV rolled up and exploded.

These children were not collateral damage. They were targets.

The SUV driver was no insurgent. He was a terrorist.

People who set off bombs on London trains are not insurgents. We would never think of calling them anything other than what they are – terrorists.

Train bombers in Madrid? Terrorists.

Chechen rebels who take over a Russian school and execute children? Terrorists.

Teenagers who strap bombs to their chests and detonate them in an Israeli cafe? Terrorists.

IRA killers? Basque separatist killers? Hotel bombers in Bali? Terrorists all.

Words have meanings. Whether too timid, sensitive or "open-minded," we've resisted drawing a direct line between homicidal bombers everywhere else in the world and the ones who blow up Iraqi civilians or behead aid workers.

No more. To call them "insurgents" insults every legitimate insurgency in modern history. They are terrorists.
About. Damned. Time.

Now, somebody send this around to the NYT, LA Times, Guardian, et al.

OK, I Have to Get One of These.

(h/t Ravenwood.) I've seen the "Peace Through Superior Firepower" stickers for quite a while, and liked them, but the Analog Kid has managed to use his to outstanding effect.
She went into a rant about how violence creates violence, war is for people who don’t know how to negotiate (or some such BS) and I was waiting for the famous "You can’t hug a child with nuclear arms" drivel, but it never arrived. It probably would have except that as she got a couple sentences into her rant, I started unfolding my Shotgun News and that really made her mad.

Her last line something like "And stupid stickers like that one and stupid people like you will never understand and that really pisses me off!" and it was at full volume, so that folks still sitting in their vehicles around us were able to take notice.

I calmly folded my my Shotgun News back up and asked if it made her pissed off enough to try and hit me.
Read the whole story.

Analog Kid, I bow in your direction. Bravo, sir! Bravo!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

One Small Step for Man...

On this day in 1969 Astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first human being to set foot on another world - in real life.

It is entirely appropriate that James Montgomery Doohan, Star Trek's "Scotty," has left us on this day.

First you dream it, then you do it.

It was a good dream. It still is.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Whoops!!.

I've posted pictures of blown-up guns on this blog on several occasions. Here's one way to accomplish that:

Product Recall

July 6, 2005

Product description: Unique® smokeless powder, LOT numbers 850, 859, 861, 868, 872, 876, 890, 898 and 907.

Warning:
Alliant Powder has determined a very small number of eight pound (8 lb.) Alliant Powder Unique smokeless powder containers may contain Alliant Powder Bullseye smokeless powder.

LOADING BULLSEYE SMOKELESS POWDER INTO ROUNDS OF AMMUNITION IN WHICH THE RECIPE CALLS FOR UNIQUE SMOKELESS POWDER MAY RESULT IN HIGH PRESSURE LOADS AND SUBSEQUENT GUN DAMAGE OR PERSONAL INJURY.

If you are in possession of an eight pound (8 lb.) bottle of Alliant Powder Unique with any of the above noted lot numbers, please immediately cease use of this product and notify Alliant Powder by calling 800-276-9337 or emailing reloading@alliantpowder.com

Lot numbers are located on the bottom of each bottle.

I use Unique, but not in 8-lb. lots, and it's been a bit since I bought my last 1-lb. container, but this recall is just a bit unnerving. My favorite .45ACP load is 7.0 grains of Unique under the Speer Gold Dot 200 grain hollowpoint. If I used 7.0 grains of Bullseye I'd be one full grain over listed max. Probably not catastrophic, but then again...

Friday, July 15, 2005

$2.69 at Circle-K. Twelve Hours of Gastrointestinal Misery

gutbuster

I strongly advise everyone to avoid any convenience-mart food that includes eggs.

STRONGLY.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

"But it has to be a heap now."

Yes. That's It Exactly

I don't have to work at this, people send me stuff. Mike from Feces Flinging Monkey most recently has been pointing me at the most interesting things. Today's is a piece in the current Reason Online by Julian Sanchez concerning my most personally hated latin phrase, stare decisis - defined by Webster's as "a doctrine or policy of following rules or principles laid down in previous judicial decisions unless they contravene the ordinary principles of justice." Mr. Sanchez's piece is entitled A Heap of Precedents: Slippery slopes, stare decisis, and popular opinion. Mike found it through the blog A Constrained Vision, which looks interesting in itself, as the author draws it's title from a Thomas Sowell quote. Anyway, the part(s) I found pertinent were these:
There's a famous philosophical puzzle, originally attributed to Eubulides of Miletus, known as the sorites paradox or heaps problem. It goes like this: Two or three grains of sand obviously don't constitute a "heap" of sand. And it seems absurd to suppose that adding a single grain of sand could turn something that wasn't a heap into a heap. But apply that logic repeatedly as you add one grain after another, and you're pushed to the equally absurd conclusion that 100,000 grains aren't a heap either. (Alternatively, you can run the logic in the other direction and prove that three grains of sand are a heap.)

It's not a terribly deep puzzle, of course: It simply illustrates that some of our everyday concepts, like that of a heap, are vague or fuzzy, not susceptible to such precise definition. Try to define such concepts in too much detail and absurdity results.

The problem is, concepts like "interstate commerce," "public use," "unreasonable search," and "cruel and unusual" are similarly fuzzy. And stare decisis, the principle that cases are to be decided by reference to previous rulings, means that the Court's interpretation of those rulings looks an awful lot like a process of adding one grain at a time without ever arriving at an unconstitutional heap—an instance of what law professor Eugene Volokh has called an "attitude altering slippery slope." Jurisprudence is all about distinguishing cases, explaining why some legal principle applies in situation A, but not in apparently similar situation B. But if the grains are fine enough—the differences from case to case sufficiently subtle—plausible distinctions become harder to find.

--

The core of the argument in the dissent, on the other hand, looked quite different, going directly to the Fifth Amendment's stipulation that property be seized only for "public use":
[If] predicted (or even guaranteed) positive side-effects are enough to render transfer from one private party to another constitutional, then the words "for public use" do not realistically exclude any takings, and thus do not exert any constraint on the eminent domain power.
The dissent in Raich was heavier on citation, but at its core seemed similarly motivated by a big-picture concern that the ruling "threatens to sweep all of productive human activity into federal regulatory reach." Both dissents, in other words, step back from the meticulous addition of granules to exclaim: "But it has to be a heap now."

These two decisions prompted outrage not because either was a radical departure from precedent - neither was - but because they called attention to just how many grains of precedent had been piled atop the terms "public use" and "interstate commerce," reaching so far from the common-sense meanings of those terms as to seem preposterous if one is only eyeballing the heap, rather than attending to the process.
(That's the heart of it, but read the whole thing.) Worse, when stare decisis builds upon previous bad decisions - and no one denies that the Court has made some real stinkers over its history - then we're not talking heaps of sand anymore. We're talking heaps of shit.

Raich
, and to a much larger extent Kelo, both "contravene the ordinary principles of justice" without a doubt. That a majority of the Court wouldn't recognize this is what angers me more than anything. Perhaps they believe Nancy Pelosi's right, and their decisions are "almost as if God has spoken" so they needn't bother themselves with "eyeballing the heap."

Thomas, on the dissenting side in both Kelo and Raich, is absolutely right: "Something has gone seriously awry with this Court's interpretation of the Constitution."

And achieving divinity ain't it.

Monday, July 11, 2005

New Gun!.

Well, new to me, anyway. Remember back in May 2004 when I said I was going to purchase a S&W Model 25 Mountain Gun chambered for .45LC? And then didn't?

Well, at lunch today, I did. It looks just like this:

Photobucket's down!

My favorite gun shop had a used one I found a couple of weeks ago. I traded in my Ruger SP-101 (that shot really low), scrounged up some cash (thanks, honey!), and bought it. Now I have to get some dies, brass, and bullets. Anybody have a favorite .45LC load they want to share?

Synchronicity.

From today's Bleat:
I went outside to read “Life at the Bottom,” an account of the British underclass by Theodore Dalrymple. “Bracing” does not describe it, anymore than “Brisk” describes the sensation of a bucket of lemon juice poured on a sucking chest wound. The book concerns the ideas that animate, if you can use that word, the sullen masses of the impotent and indifferent, where they come from (two guesses) and how uncouthness becomes chic, and trickles up.
I'm reading the same book. Amazon was selling this along with his latest book, Our Culture, What's Left of it: The Mandarins and the Masses at a discount last week, freight included, so I ordered them.

Lileks' description is apt. These books need to be read, but "entertainment" they most definitely are not. The first essay in Our Culture is Dalrymple's City Journal piece, "The Frivolity of Evil," if you want a taste.

I was watching Inside the Actor's Studio yesterday afternoon, and the guest was Jamie Fox. James Lipton asked Fox what a "Playa" was. Fox defined it as (and I paraphrase) someone whose opinion is valued by the public. I don't have the book in front of me as I write this, but in the very first essay in Life at the Bottom Dalrymple illustrates how the British newspaper The Guardian ran an article about how there had recently been a meeting of America's "greatest minds."

They were talking about rap artists.

Talk about "trickle up."

Edited to add: Here's the actual passage. It's from the introduction, not the first essay:
Just as there is said to be no correct grammar or spelling, so there is no higher or lower culture: difference itself is the only recognized distinction. This is a view peddled by intellectuals eager to demonstrate to one another their broad-mindedly democratic sentiment. For example, the newspaper that is virtually the house journal of Britain's liberal intelligentsia, the Guardian (which would once honorably have demanded that, in the name of equity and common decency, the entire population should be given access to high culture), recently published an article about a meeting in New York of what it described in headlines as "some of America's biggest minds."

And who were America's biggest minds? Were they its Nobel prize-winning scientists, its physicists and molecular biologists? Were they America's best contemporary scholars or writers? Or perhaps its electronics entrepreneurs who have so transformed the world in the last half-century?

No, some of the biggest minds in America belonged, in the opinion of the Guardian, to rap singers such as Puff Daddy, who were meeting in New York (for "a summit," as the Guardian put it) to end the spate of senseless mutual killings of East and West Coast rap singers and improve the public image of rap as a genre. Pictures of the possessors of these gigantic minds accompanied the article, so that even if you did not already know that rap lyrics espouse a set of values that is in equal part brutal and stupid, you would know at once that these allegedly vast intellects belonged to people indistinguishable from street thugs.

The insincerity of this flattery is obvious to anyone with even a faint acquaintance with the grandeur of human achievement. It is inconceivable that the writer of the article, or the editor of the newspaper, both educated men, truly believed that Puff Daddy et al. possessed some of the biggest minds in America. But the fact that the debased clture of which rap music is a product receives such serious attention and praise deludes its listeners into supposing that nothing finer exists than what they already know and like. Such flattery is thus the death of aspiration, and lack of aspiration is, of course, one of the causes of passivity.
Which reminds me, once again, of Tytler's timeline:

From bondage to spiritual faith
From spiritual faith to great courage
From courage to liberty
From liberty to abundance
From abundance to complacency
From complacency to apathy
From apathy to dependence
From dependence back into bondage

Friday, July 08, 2005

They Must've Been Liberal Sheep.(and it's all George Bush's fault.)

It was the first thought that came to mind when I read this, anyway:
450 Sheep Jump to Their Deaths in Turkey

The Associated Press
Friday, July 8, 2005; 9:30 AM


ISTANBUL, Turkey -- First one sheep jumped to its death. Then stunned Turkish shepherds, who had left the herd to graze while they had breakfast, watched as nearly 1,500 others followed, each leaping off the same cliff, Turkish media reported.

In the end, 450 dead animals lay on top of one another in a billowy white pile, the Aksam newspaper said. Those who jumped later were saved as the pile got higher and the fall more cushioned, Aksam reported.

"There's nothing we can do. They're all wasted," Nevzat Bayhan, a member of one of 26 families whose sheep were grazing together in the herd, was quoted as saying by Aksam.

The estimated loss to families in the town of Gevas, located in Van province in eastern Turkey, tops $100,000, a significant amount of money in a country where average GDP per head is around $2,700.

"Every family had an average of 20 sheep," Aksam quoted another villager, Abdullah Hazar as saying. "But now only a few families have sheep left. It's going to be hard for us."
I guess they heard that Sandra Day O'Connor was retiring, and couldn't stand the idea of another conservative on the Court.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Monday, July 04, 2005

Interesting Passage from a Novel. . .


From The Road to Damascus, by John Ringo and Linda Evans:
"If I could've, son, I'd have given you a generalship, but that's a rank beyond my legal authority to grant. We took to heart lessons learned on old Terra. We chose carefully and wisely when we modeled our constitution and named this world for the man who drafted the original model. Military dictatorships are anathema to us."

Simon's lips twitched, despite the gravity of the situation. He'd raised an eyebrow at one of the clauses, which read, essentially, The right of the people to keep and bear arms for self-defense and defense of the homeland shall never be infringed, limited, rescinded, interfered with, or prohibited by any decree of law, decision by court, or policy by the executive branch or any of its agencies. And this time, we mean it.
The planet is named Jefferson, so they're a little shaky on their history - Madison is most responsible for the Constitution, Jefferson for the Declaration of Independence - but I like the sentiment.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Sandra Day O'Connor Retires.

Three words: Janice Rogers Brown.

OK, I lied. Two more words: Alex Kozinski.

That is all.